As I work day in and day out not only with potential adoptive parents, but also with parents who have adopted children who need counseling, I have noticed there is one characteristic that is often shared among them: Resiliency. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” It takes more than just a casual thought to become an adoptive parent. One must become open to criticism from the authorities who place the children, as well as the state and federal governments here in this country, just to bring a child home from another country for an international adoption. In the case of domestic adoption, would-be parents have a different set of trials they must endure, such as waiting for a sometimes long and exasperating period of time just to match with a birth mother, and then meeting their potential newborn child at a hospital still unsure of whether that child will get to be theirs permanently or not. It isn’t always a smooth or seamless process for either party, because people are unpredictable. Many stories end happily with the formation of a forever family, but what most people don’t get to see is the process of bringing those two parties together and the work that it takes to make it happen.
The parents of an adopted child will always have to fight for this child, whether from the beginning of the child’s life or from the point where the child is taken into their home, as is the case with many children who are adopted from the state foster care system. These children are defenseless and are worth fighting for; it goes without saying. But the adoptive parents must be resilient in order to finish the race – able to fight the fatigue and impatience of a long wait, able to endure the process of filling out forms and talking about their entire lives to virtual strangers, able to have peace and to know that their child will come, for those who are waiting to be matched, or that their child will improve, if they are in counseling because of the child’s abusive past. Adopted children gain so much more from parents who are adaptable, who see the children for who they are and are willing to help them become all they can be, as opposed to having rigid expectations of what children are “supposed” to be. Many of these children come home with a history that would make most adults cry. It isn’t easy for them, but the beautiful thing about children is that they are always willing to open back up to love. Some of them may not know how to go about it in a healthy fashion, but the motivation is still there nonetheless. It may need a little coaxing from a trained professional, but it is absolutely there. The human spirit is virtually impossible to break. I talk with parents every day about their children. The more adoptions I see take place, the more I am convinced that there will always be hope for future generations thanks to a select group of people in the world who are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that a child who was once without a parent or a home will always have a loving, secure and nurturing home to grow up in. The world is not as ugly a place when you witness the power of resilient parents moving heaven and earth for their child. It is a beautiful thing, indeed.